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the life and the being of God were there, and the first thing was motion. The spirit of God moved upon the great deep of eternity, and light came at the bidding of the Infinite One. Movement was henceforward the formula. The earth took its form. The waters were gathered in the sea, and the dry land appeared. The trees, and the herbs, and the grass grew on the land. The sun, the moon, and the stars came forth to traverse the regions of space.
The sea monsters and fishes came to sport in the waters. The birds were made to fly in the air. The beasts walked and roamed over the surface of the new-born world, and the creeping things crawled in its bosom; and at last came man to be the tenant of the habitation thus prepared for him; and movement-ceaseless activity was the formula of his life. His business was to multiply and replenish the earth, and subdue it, and to have dominion over every thing that liveth and moveth upon its surface. From that time onward movement has been the process. The earth moves, and the moon and stars move, and man and animals move, and without motion there is not so much as a blade of grass.
But whence all these movements and ceaseless activities ? To account for motion we must postulate life, and to account for conscious being we must postulate knowledge. But in whom were the life and the intelligence? Surely not in any created being or thing, because no such being or thing can, by any conceivable possibility of thought, have life in itself, and that for the simple reason that its existence is derived and not original. All creature life must be derived from the infinite fountain of life; all knowledge must come from the fountain of knowledge; all motion must be communicated motion, and not self-existent in the thing created. God, the Creator, is the source of all life, all knowledge, all movement, and since he is infinite, and the stream can never rise
higher or contain more than the fountain, the sum of these can never be increased, but must be ever the same. There can be no nore life than there was in the infinite fountain of life; there can be no knowledge of any thing that God did not know from eternity, and there can be no motion beyond that which is in God; for “in him we live, and move, and have our being." God is life, infinite life, and for that reason he can not create life, for that would be God creating God. He can only create forms of life, but the life that animates the forms is not of the forms, but of God. He can not create knowledge; for infinite knowledge is already his. He can only create forms, to whom he can communicate, and among whom he can distribute knowledge in all possible shades and degrees. He can not create motion, as original in any being or thing. He can only communicate motion to the forms that he has made. And so that old theologian, so little heeded in these days, was right when he said of God, “He giveth us life, and breath, and all things." What then ? Why, then emerges the truth which we have so often repeated, “God is the final and efficient cause of all the various phenomena of the universe.” Not the least of all these phenomena could exist without life, or appear without motion, or be known without intelligence; and hence the postulate of an infinite God being given, the conclusion is as clearly demonstrable as any problem of Euclid.
We have said that motion is the formula of the universe, as well as the first step in creation, and it is manifest that, as created, and not self-existent, without God all its movements and activities must at once cease. Imagine for a moment, if the thought be possible, that God, with all his life and energy, were withdrawn, blotted out of the universe. What have we left? Has this universe life in itself, so that it can exist, and exhibit all its activities, and
movements, and phenomena per se, and without the presence or the power of God? If so, we may as well be Atheists. We have no necessity for a God. The universe is automatic. It can live of itself, and govern itself, and take care of itself. What want we of God? Nay, but in this case the universe exists of itself, and has all its forces in itself. In short, the universe is God, and we have Pantheism. But the child can see that, if the universe be the creature of God, and all its forces of him, then if he were taken out of it, it must at once cease to be, as surely as the stream must cease to flow when the fountain is dried up. All forms must vanish, all motion must cease, all life depart, and we should have a dead universeno universe at all.
This is as true in the moral and spiritual, as in the material universe—as true in the world of mind and motive as in the world of matter. Angels, those purely spiritual beings, who stand as it were nearer than we do to the great center of life and knowledge, are not gods, having life in themselves. But they are creatures of God. Forms of being they are, to whom the Infinite I Am has communicated life. However high they may be supposed to be exalted above all our comprehension, they are nevertheless creatures of God, deriving all their life from him, and having no independent and original vitality at all. Take the life of God out of heaven, and heaven would cease to be. And so of man, as regards his body, soul, and spirit. He is not God. He is not as God, having life in himself. But he is the creature of God. A form he is, into which the Creator has breathed the breath of life, and so made him a living soul. Take that breath of life away, and he is dust.
and he is dust. And so it is again, that “He giveth us life, and breath, and all things,” and without him we have no life, no breath-nothing. The thought is
stupendous and almost overwhelming. It humbles us in the dust, and oppresses us with a sense of our own nothingness in and of ourselves, and yet, behold, how it exalts us in God! It makes these frail bodies temples for the indwelling of the life of God, and brings us in conjunction and communion with the spirit of the Infinite. While in and of ourselves we are nothing, yet our sufficiency is of God, and the mighty forces of the Eternal are with us; and the very sense of our weakness leads us to fall back on the strength of the mighty arm that is ever near us; and even the temple of clay, which a breath may batter down and a mote destroy, becomes hallowed by the presence and consecrated by the indwelling of the life and being of the Eternal. How mighty the responsibilities, how sacred the obligations, and how high and exalted the hopes involved in the thought that all our sufficiency is of God, and that we were made to subserve the purposes of his infinite love. And yet we are told that we thus degrade man, and reduce him to a level of the mere machine. Nay, more.
A writer tells us that we “make the universe no more than a grand organ, whose keys are moved only as they are touched by the fingers of God, and man no more to be praised or blamed than the cogs of a machine, or the wheels of a coach."
However repulsive these conclusions may be, yet, if the premises are true and the conclusions legitimate, they must be accepted. With our present convictions and feelings, as a matter of choice, we should prefer to accept all these conclusions rather than abandon the premises. Any thing and every thing else in Theology may better · be yielded up than the idea of God as the life of the world, and the final cause of all its movements and activities, Better say, with Dr. Dick, “Man appears to be a machine, conscious of his movements and consenting to
them, but impelled by something different from himself,” than to exile God from the universe, or remove his hand from the helm of its government, and invest man with power to act without God, or in spite of him. So far as the material universe is concerned, it is, indeed, a “grand organ,” whose majestic tones are all attuned by the infinite wisdom of God, and whose sublime harmonies roll forth and swell up beyond the stars, as its keys are touched by the fingers of the Great Master Builder. Who but God can build an organ like this ? and whose but the fingers of the Almighty can so touch the keys, and so make creation glad with the music of the spheres ? Go down in the dust, vain mortal, nor dream that thy puny fingers, nor those of angel or archangel, may touch those mighty keys, or extract a note from that wondrous fabric, save as God gives thee power! Lift up thy voice and let it roar; but it shall be as the squeaking mouse amid the thunders of Niagara. For us, when we look upon the great sun in the day-time, and upon the moon and the stars that shine amid the “blazonry of God” in the night sky; and when we contemplate those countless orbs that move in their endless circles, and fill the very heavens with activity and forms of beauty, we do not think that those vast worlds are degraded by the thought that God is there; that he molded them in the hollow of his hand, and marked with his finger the track they must pursue; that beneath all their forms there dwells “an excellent glory that passeth knowledge; that, mighty as they are, there is one mightier than they ; that, instead of shining of themselves, they do but reflect the glory of the invisible Jehovah, and, instead of being vacant of the divinity, their loftiest heights and lowest depths are all consecrated by the presence, and animated with the life, of him who is “over all, and above all, and in all, blessing and blessed